A year ago, Jack Swagger was getting a decent push as Vickie Guerrero’s client and wasn’t far away from winning the United States Championship.
But today? He’s nowhere to be found.
Swagger “quit” the WWE after a long string of losses back in early September and has been off TV for more than two months now, seemingly to be brought back under a different character or gimmick down the road. There have been all sorts of scenarios thrown around about Swagger’s potential return, suggesting everything from a renewed push as a heel to a complete gimmick overhaul.
One idea that I really like was written by fellow B/R writer John Canton, who thinks that Swagger could return as a babyface and go after Antonio Cesaro and the US Championship. This, of course, would play into Cesaro criticizing the US every week as well as Swagger’s “All-American American” shtick.
I think that’s a great way to bring Swagger back and instantly make him relevant again, but here’s another suggestion: Have him turn face on Dolph Ziggler.
For a big chunk of both 2011 and 2012, Swagger and Ziggler served as Vickie Guerrero’s two clients, often working together as a tag team but also developing a rivalry of sorts as they competed for her services. As we all know now, it wound up being Ziggler who won a match to retain Vickie’s services, which meant Swagger was left to venture off on his own.
Of course, it didn’t take long for Swagger to quickly plummet down the card once he and Vickie parted ways. He quickly turned into a jobber (losing to guys like Ryback and Sheamus), and not even three months later, he found himself off TV altogether.
I’ve heard speculation about Swagger being buried because he has backstage heat, but since none of that seemed to come from reliable sources, I really can’t accurately comment on it. Either way, though, Swagger is just too damn talented not to be used at all on either Raw or SmackDown.
He’s a great in-ring talent, who—although not great on the stick—is one of the best big men around and, at 30 years old, is in the prime of his career. He’s still got a lot of value. He just needs a way to make it back on TV.
That’s why I suggest the aforementioned face turn on Ziggler.
It’s no secret that Swagger needs to change his character in order to have any measure of success upon his return, and since he’s spent his entire WWE career as a heel, it’s worth taking a risk to see how he can perform as a babyface. We’re currently seeing The Miz turn face, and it seems to be working out pretty well so far.
The same could happen with Swagger, especially when you consider that his nickname and gimmick is “The All-American American.” With a name like that, he could undoubtedly perform as a babyface who is the “ideal American,” is incredibly patriotic and does everything for the good of his country.
Though cheesy, a gimmick like that could work with a guy like Swagger because he’s good enough in the ring to get the fans behind him. He just needs a quality storyline to make it work.
Why not one with Ziggler?
While I know many will say that “Ziggler is above Swagger’s level,” I’m not saying that Swagger has to come in and instantly be a main-event-caliber guy like Ziggler is. Swagger just needs to return and target the guy who stole his manager and essentially ruined his WWE career.
It’s an easy story that works, and it could be ignited with something as simple as Ziggler boasting about how great he is and challenging anyone in the back to try to beat him. Out comes Swagger, who attacks Ziggler and beats the living crap out of him, with the match never taking place.
Ziggler’s getting over big-time as a heel right now, so if Swagger is going to return as a babyface, it’s logical for the WWE to want him to do it against a top heel in a storyline that isn’t just randomly thrown together.
As we all know, Ziggler and Swagger have a ton of history together. Yet, the WWE rushed their breakup angle without any real payoff.
It’s time for a re-do, and that re-do should come with Swagger going after the guy who nearly cost him his career and turning babyface in the process.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!